This article takes a look at the saddest Mac Miller songs from the artist’s discography. Thanks to the vulnerability Mac expressed in his lyrics, songs like these help many people open up emotionally.
Mac Miller’s music often deals with deep themes of isolation, addiction, and desperation. In his earlier recordings, Mac addressed these themes in a raw and direct manner. In his later releases, he developed beautiful poetry on these topics.
Aside from dealing with his personal and emotional struggles, a number of Mac Miller songs feature prescient lines about his death, making those tracks all the more moving. These songs take on a special meaning for Mac Miller fans, many of whom feel a deep connection with Mac through his music.
Here are some of Mac Miller’s saddest songs to help you connect with those feelings.
11. God Speed
The second part of ‘Perfect Circle / God Speed’ from Mac Miller’s GO:OD AM album, ‘God Speed’ hits hard. Evocative soul jazz instrumentals underpin lyrics in which Mac seems to predict his own death.
The track deals with Mac’s struggles with substance abuse, his obsession with success, and his struggle to relax and enjoy life.
The song features several eerily prescient lines including, ‘I’m speedin’ with a blindfold on and won’t be long ’til they watching me crash,’ and ‘I’m too obsessed with going down as a great one, and if you wait too long, they go find someone to replace ya.’
Undoubtedly one of the saddest Mac Miller songs, this one is not easy to listen to.
10. Come Back To Earth
The introspective ‘Come Back To Earth’ is the opening track from Swimming. The lyrics show a more mature Mac, who opens up about feelings of weariness and his struggle to stay afloat.
The slow, ambient feel of the track is calm and comforting, but the lyrics clearly grapple with a sense of desperation. The refrain, ‘I just need a way out of my head / I’d do anything for a way out of my head’ in many ways gets to the core of why Mac sought escapism through drugs.
The song is the perfect track to open Swimming, opening with the somewhat optimistic line, ‘I was drowning but now I’m swimming / from stressful waters to relief.’ The track reflects a heavy weariness, but clearly shows Mac striving to break out.
As we look back at Mac’s legacy, the track takes on a deeply wistful tone, making it a song that is tinged with melancholy and sadness.
9. Colors and Shapes
‘Colors and Shapes’ comes from Mac Miller’s 2014 album Faces. It was re-released as a single electronically in 2021.
The slow and atmospheric track features evocative imagery of a downward descent – sinking, drowning, and falling.
The song has a mysterious and melancholic tone, and is one of the more oblique songs from the early part of Mac’s career. The track set the precedent for the more emotionally complex and mature songs Mac would write on records like Swimming and Circles.
A beautiful and sad song whose timely rerelease in 2021 helped bring Mac’s music to a wider audience.
8. Good News
‘Good News’ comes from Mac’s posthumously released Circles album, and, for many reasons, it can be considered one of Mac Miller’s saddest songs.
The track, along with Circles as a whole, showed Mac Miller’s music reaching new levels of maturity and self-reflection. The song feels relatively upbeat and calm, but it also carries feelings of weariness and disappointment.
In the refrain, Mac reflects on expectations projected onto him. On the one hand, ‘they don’t like it when I’m down,’ but at the other end of the spectrum, ‘when I’m flying it make them so uncomfortable.’
Lines such as the following reflect a sense of isolation and dislocation: ‘Wake up to the moon, haven’t seen the sun in a while / but I heard that the sky’s still blue, yeah / heard they don’t talk about me too much no more / and that’s a problem with a closed door.’
Ultimately, the track seems to reflect Mac nurturing a fragile sense of optimism, yet still feeling beaten down.
Mac’s 2013 album Watching Movies With The Sound Turned Off is sometimes highlighted as the record which saw Mac start to shed his ‘frat rap’ reputation and address some deeper themes in his music.
‘REMember’ is one of the first Mac Miller tracks that saw him delve a little deeper in terms of themes. The track deals with the death of his childhood friend Reuben Eli Mitrani (REM). In the song, Mac evokes memories of the innocent and naive childhood that they shared, evoking strong feelings of nostalgia and loss.
Coming off Mac’s 2014 Faces album, ‘Funeral’ is another song that seems to ominously reference the artist’s own death.
The song reflects on the twin themes of mortality and embracing life in the moment – a theme that is captured in the refrain, ‘party like it’s the last day of your life.’
Coming from the earlier part of Mac’s discography, ‘Funeral’ is more raw and less refined than his later work. However, that youthful rawness only adds to the track’s intensity, making for a bittersweet and wistful song that is definitely amongst the saddest Mac Miller songs.
5. Grand Finale
‘Grand Finale’ is one of Mac Miller’s bleakest songs. Coming from his Faces album (a record which Mac describes as a ‘straight up suicide album’), the track is in-keeping with the tone of the record, and one of the most dramatic tracks on that album.
With lines like ‘let us have a grand finale / the world will be just fine without me,’ ‘Grand Finale’ is something of a cry for help, akin to the emo rap verses of artists like XXXTentacion or Juice WRLD.
A dramatically sad, and somewhat depressing song, that delves into the darker parts of the younger Mac Miller’s mind.
The gloomy ‘Smile’ is a song from Run-On Sentences, Volume Two, which Mac released under his producer pseudonym, Larry Fisherman.
The lethargically slow song captures a mood of desperation, hopelessness, and despair, with the slow synth changes resembling a church organ at a funeral.
The song reflects on themes of depression and escapism, with the title of the track derived from the sardonic line, ‘the devil always smile when you need a friend.’ The song seems to conclude with a resolution to escape it all by getting high.
‘Circles’ is the opening track from Mac’s posthumously released Circles album. The track sets the mood for the largely calm and introspective album. The opening line, however, has an eerie prescience – ‘this is what it look like right before you fall.’
The track is a far cry from many of the bleaker and darker tracks on this list, with an introspective, thoughtful, and calm mood. However, these characteristics carry an element of sadness.
Tracks like ‘Circles,’ which show this more reflective and mature Mac Miller, demonstrate how far he came in overcoming his struggles. This makes it all the more sad that Mac ultimately lost his life to drugs.
The track has a somewhat comforting and calm feeling, which perhaps make it the perfect Mac Miller song to help you tap into your emotions.
The moody and deeply evocative ‘Woods’ is surely one of Mac’s most beautiful songs, and also one of the saddest Mac Miller songs. The opening line of the song sets the tone: ‘things like this ain’t built to last / I might just fade like those before me.’
The song is deeply poetic, and reflects on Mac’s ability to both give and receive love. The refrain, ‘do I, do I, do I love? Can I, can I, can I get enough?’ seems to capture the track’s searching mood, as it grapples with a relationship that was clearly of some consequence to Mac.
The mysterious and somewhat oblique lyrics of ‘Woods’ seem to demonstrate Mac pouring himself into a relationship to make it work, without a clear outcome.
A stunning song, and a real tear-jerker, ‘Woods’ is a strong contender for the saddest Mac Miller song of all.
1. So It Goes
‘So It Goes’ is the closing track on Swimming. The track, which ends with a stirring synth line, was featured in the artist’s last Instagram story before his death on 7 September 2018. Curiously, Mac stated in an interview that Swimming was the first album that didn’t ‘secretly end with death.’
Mac’s claim was an interesting one, since the track’s title is a reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five, in which the phrase ‘so it goes’ appears each time a death occurs. Mac claimed that on Swimming, ‘death in this album is very far down the line, so it’s more positive in that regard. I get better over the course of the album.’
It seems, then, a cruel irony, and a peculiar twist of fate that this song accompanied Mac’s last ‘public’ appearance on social media. In this context, ‘So It Goes’ takes on a strange new meaning to become a deeply sad song for Mac Miller fans.
Rest in peace, Mac, and thank you for sharing these songs with the world.
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